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Nikki's musical career takes new direction
After a career as a jazz singer and a piano teacher, mum of two Nikki Franklin decided to add an academic qualification to her repertoire. This week she graduates with a "first" in Music from the University of Sussex.
Nikki, 36, who lives in Hassocks, says: "I have been performing professionally since I was 19 and have sung with many bands, including the main Fleetwood Mac tribute band, Fleetwood Bac. But I really wanted to explore new avenues. I didn't have any qualifications, so I did an Access course to get into university."
With two small children - Oscar, aged seven, and six-year-old Ellen - she found the demands of a full-time degree course quite challenging. She is also recently divorced. "I found my life taking a new and exciting direction," she says.
While she excelled at the performance modules for the degree programme, she also got top marks for composition. "I found I enjoyed writing for a full orchestra with chorus," she says. "I also wrote a big band piece, which was performed by Brighton's No Straight Chaser."
Nikki, who will be cheered on at Friday's morning graduation ceremony by her children, her parents and her boyfriend, is hoping to be funded for postgraduate studies in music. "I am interested in lecturing in music at university level," she says.